Meet the Negotiating Committee: Yahlin Chang
Bio: Yahlin Chang is the co-showrunner and executive producer of The Handmaid’s Tale. For her work on the show, she won a Humanitas Award and was nominated for a writing Emmy, as well as garnering nominations for multiple Drama Series Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and Producers Guild Awards. Her credits include ER, Supergirl, Dirty Sexy Money, Shades of Blue, Pan Am, Pure Genius, Ed, and Deadline.
What prompted you to join the Negotiating Committee?
The WGA is an incredibly impressive union, and I’ve been a proud member of it for 23 years. It’s actually a relatively small world and feels like a real community. As a member of this community, I feel like the question is clear: Do you care about other writers or do you only care about yourself? Generations of writers before us sacrificed to get us health insurance, pension, and residuals. Writers take care of each other and we need to take care of future generations of writers. What prompted me to join the Negotiating Committee is that Meredith Stiehm and David Goodman asked me. Meredith guided me through my very first freelance ER episode 20 years ago. I was a fan of David Goodman’s throughout his WGAW presidency and then turned fandom into friendship.
Tell us about a time when you have felt a strong feeling of solidarity with your fellow writers.
The strongest feeling of solidarity I’ve had with fellow writers were during the membership meetings over the past few months. I’ve never seen or felt so much solidarity among the membership. Everyone from showrunners to staff writers has been grappling with the same issues.
What makes the 2023 contract cycle different from past ones that you have witnessed or in which you have participated?
Writers that have fought over union actions in the past are remarkably unified on this one. It’s shocking how the middle class of our union has been totally hollowed out. We all understand that this contract cycle is about existential issues—can you make a living as a writer? Even the writers who are very successful and seemingly insulated seem to understand that if the middle class and entry level class of writers disappear, then our health insurance will disappear along with it. So the existential nature of this fight has become clear to everyone.